Linea assists with the strategy, planning, requirements gathering, RFP writing, vendor selection, and contract negotiation for a variety of software.
Understanding a client’s current environment is essential to developing a modernization strategy. Linea considers an organization’s business processes, legacy systems, data readiness, and staffing in our analysis. Our consultants review all business processes with management and subject matter experts to ensure we understand the organization’s scope. The client’s staff walk us through the legacy systems so we can gain an understanding of the functional gaps between the current state and a potential future state. We examine the underlying data within the legacy systems, and in other locations, to determine if there are gaps in the data that will likely be required in the future. We also consider the client’s staffing levels to determine the organization’s capacity to staff a modernization program.
Linea creates a high-level target-operating model that forms the basis of the new system. Our consultants work with client staff to develop a future state for each business process based on the needs of the business and trends in the industry. We help guide our clients toward a future state that is achievable within the organizational culture, that is realistically possible using the direction technology is headed, and one that remains durable for years to come. Our future state analysis also includes consideration of the technical support of the system: we work with IT and management to develop options for support, hosting, and application development.
Gathering system requirements is the process of eliciting and defining what the system is supposed to do and potentially how it is supposed to do it. Linea analysts review business rules, policy, statute, and procedure documentation to understand the foundational requirements of the business processes. We meet with the client subject matter experts to validate the rules and to walk through the current processes. We discover what the client feels is missing from their current system and how the current processes can be improved. We then discuss options for new functionality and new processes with the client, based on our industry experience and knowledge of what is feasible with newer software.
We will define technical requirements in conjunction with the client’s IT staff. We review and confirm technology policies to understand constraints with the platform, security, and architecture. We document the performance expectations, support requirements, hosting infrastructure, and other key technical considerations for the system. While primarily focused on business and technical requirements, we also address any additional requirements necessary.
Linea builds an RFP around the organization’s requirements. We write detailed requirements that are both concise and specific enough to allow vendors to properly scope the exact work required to build the system. The RFP asks for detailed information on the implementation including the vendor’s methodology, the proposed team, the timeline, the degree of work performed on-site, the vendor’s role in data conversion, and other factors. Linea includes technical questionnaires so that the client understands the proposed system’s architecture. The RFP asks the vendor to propose different levels of post-production support and provide costs for each.
The RFP asks detailed questions about the vendor’s training program for both end user and the technical staff. The vendor must also answer detailed questions about past implementations regarding what worked and what didn’t. Through this process the client obtains all the information required to select semi-finalists for vendor selection. In addition to the requirements, each RFP includes a set of processes that governs the speed of the procurement, the rules of engagement, the scoring criteria, and standards to protect the organization and to ensure fairness to all respondents.
Vendor Selection is a collaboration between the client and Linea to select the vendor that is the best fit for the organization. This begins with the issuance of the RFP and Linea’s assistance with answering the vendor’s questions. Depending on the needs of the client, Linea can follow a formal procurement process or a more informal, expedited process. We provide a proposal evaluation worksheet and train the client’s selection committee to score the written responses. We typically hold all-day meetings for the review process and assist the client with interpreting the responses submitted by the vendor.
The next step is the selection of semi-finalists for oral presentations.
As part of this process, we develop demonstration scenarios for the vendors to follow. We develop sets of interview questions for their technical, functional, and executive teams. We draft orals scoring criteria for the client. Finally, we work with the selection committee to achieve a consensus of the best vendor to fit the client’s needs.
Linea may accompany clients on reference site visits. We may perform reference checks using pre-defined sets of questions. We assist with the best and final offer process, targeting price reductions and additions of optional scope. Once the client selects a winner, we develop the formal documentation and Board presentation.
Linea acts as an advisor to the client during the negotiation process with the selected vendor. Linea is familiar with the typical industry contracts between clients and software vendors, and has a detailed listing of recommended terms to include in the negotiation.
If needed, Linea may advise a client on third party attorneys who are experienced with pension and benefits system contracts. If necessary, Linea may run multi-day in-person negotiations. The end goal of contract negotiation is a signed contract between the vendor and the client.